Friday, 29 May 2009

Tesco Finest Sunblush Cherry Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Margherita Pizza

Back in the day (around twenty years ago-eeek), every few weeks or so my mum would announce that our traditional rice and dhal would be replaced and that we'd be eating 'English' food for dinner. This meal would often consist of oven chips, peas and 'pizza'. The 'pizza' was a round, six inch disc of frozen brilliant white, spongy dough covered with an orange gloop and flecks of cheese. On cooking, the 'cheese' would form a crispy, dry, brown crust that could be lifted off in one go to reveal the gloop-covered base below. Unsurprisingly, my first ever teenage visit to Pizza Hut was a revelation. The thick bread base was dense and rich, the tomato sauce tasted as if it might actually have been in contact with some real tomatoes at some point, and the cheese was delightfully soft and stringy when melted. I decided then that I might like pizza after all.
Well, things have moved on even more since then, and Pizza Hut with it's fare of oily stodge, has been left behind in favour of the thin, crispy bases and authentic Mediterranean toppings of Pizza Express. As a dining experience it's hard to go wrong with anything from the Pizza Express menu, but what about those nights when you can't be bothered to leave the house and chuck twenty quid at a pizza, salad and drinks? Well, a good alternative is the Tesco Finest sunblush cherry tomato and buffalo mozzarella margherita pizza. When cooked directly on the oven shelf, this pizza has a thin, light crust with just enough cheese to provide a contrast to the sweet tomato sauce. I'm very keen on adding my own toppings to a basic shop-bought margherita, so the pic below shows the pizza augmented with red onion, chestnut mushrooms and asparagus.

Instead of following the instructions I put my pizza on the middle shelf of the oven for longer than the six minutes advised, in order for the vegetables to have time to cook through without the crust burning. A little drizzle of olive oil is also beneficial. Oddly enough the one thing that I'm not that keen on is the sunblush tomatoes. Halfway towards being a full-on sundried tomatoes, I find these chewy morsels just a little too sharp, although some may like their tartness.
So it may not be straight from a wood-fired oven or have a hand-pulled dough base, but it's certainly good value for money, as the large (12 inch-ish) version should feed two with a side salad.

Cost: £3.49 for the larger version (full price but often on special offer)
I rate it 7.5/10.

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